Mentally Disordered Offenders in Pursuit of Celebrities and Politicians (ICPSR 6007)

Version Date: Mar 30, 2006 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Park Elliot Dietz, Unknown; Daniel A. Martell, Unknown

Version V2

These data were collected to develop a means of identifying those individuals most likely to be dangerous to others because of their pursuit of public figures. Another objective of the study was to gather detailed quantitative information on harassing and threatening communications to public figures and to determine what aspects of written communications are predictive of future behavior. Based on the fact that each attack by a mentally disordered person in which an American public figure was wounded had occurred in connection with a physical approach within 100 yards, the investigators reasoned that accurate predictions of such physical approaches could serve as proxies for the less feasible task of accurate prediction of attacks. The investigators used information from case files of subjects who had pursued two groups of public figures, politicians and celebrities. The data were drawn from the records of the United States Capitol Police and a prominent Los Angeles-based security consulting firm, Gavin de Becker, Inc. Information was gathered from letters and other communications of the subjects, as well as any other sources available, such as police records or descriptions of what occurred during interviews. The data include demographic information such as sex, age, race, marital status, religion, and education, family history information, background information such as school and work records, military history, criminal history, number of communications made, number of threats made, information about subjects' physical appearance, psychological and emotional evaluations, information on travel/mobility patterns, and approaches made.

Dietz, Park Elliot, and Martell, Daniel A. Mentally Disordered Offenders in Pursuit of Celebrities and Politicians. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-03-30.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (83-NI-AX-0005)

(1) The documentation for this data collection does not indicate the time period to which the data refer. In addition, users should note that according to the documentation the individuals described in the collection are not representative of any geographic area. (2) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Only subjects who had written letters or mailed some other type of communication and had been on file for at least six months prior to the beginning of data compilation were included. The subjects were then classified as approach-positive or approach-negative according to six criteria. The investigators controlled for the number of communications in a file so that the approach-positive samples and the approach-negative samples had similar distributions of numbers of communications. Part 1 is a stratified sample, and Part 2 is nonstratified.

Individuals who pursue public figures.

files of the United States Capitol Police and Gavin de Becker, Inc., Department of Motor Vehicle records, official criminal histories, newspaper accounts, interviews with the subject or subject's family, reports from law enforcement officials, psychiatric reports, and hospital records

administrative records data, clinical data, survey data, and event/transaction data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Dietz, Park Elliot, and Daniel A. Martell. MENTALLY DISORDERED OFFENDERS IN PURSUIT OF CELEBRITIES AND POLITICIANS. 2nd ICPSR version. Los Altos, CA: Sociometrics Corporation [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2004.

2006-03-30 File CB6007.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

2004-07-26 Data were converted from card image to logical record length, SAS and SPSS data definition statements were created, and documentation was updated and converted to machine-readable format (PDF).

1993-05-13 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. Please see version history for more details.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.